Treatment for sleep apnea (Schlafapnoe) makes it easier for people who suffer from it to combat the condition. Cases range from the very mild to the very serious, and treatments vary depending on the severity of the condition. If you’ve been diagnosed with this condition, keep in mind that there are many treatments out there available to help you cope with your diagnosis.
Mild cases may not require any invasive procedure at all-you may simply need to change your daily behaviors. These are called conservative approaches. You can lose weight and stay away from alcohol and/or sleeping pills. Changing the position you’re in while sleeping helps for regular breathing, and you should especially avoid sleeping on your back. Quitting smoking also helps as your upper airway swells more when you smoke. These behavioral changes can help put a mild case of sleep apnea (Schlafapnoe) to bed.
If a conservative approach isn’t enough, you could try Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, or CPAP. With this treatment for sleep apnea, you’ll wear a mask over your nose and/or mouth while you sleep. This mask hooks up to a machine, and the machine gives a constant flow of air into your nostrils. The positive pressure keeps your airways open and your breathing stops being impaired.
There are also dental devices out there to treat this condition. Certain dentists have special training to deal with patients who have this need. They can create special devices to help keep your airway open while you’re asleep.
There are, however, some conditions that lead to sleep apnea that may require surgery to fix. These conditions include significantly enlarged tonsils, a deviated nasal septum, and a small lower jaw coupled with an overbite that makes the throat abnormally narrow.
There are a few frequently-performed surgeries. One is simply nasal surgery that corrects nasal obstructions. Another is called Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, also known as UPPP, which removes soft tissue on the back of the throat and palate to increase the width of the airway where your throat opens. There’s also a procedure called mandibular maxillar advancement surgery. This is an invasive procedure that fixes some facial abnormalities and throat obstructions.
There are other, less invasive procedures that you can undergo to reduce or stiffen the soft tissue of your palate. However, the long-term success of treatment for sleep apnea of these procedures has not so far been determined. They include pillar palatal implants, somnoplasy, and injection snoreplasty.
Although anyone can suffer from the disease, there are certain risk factors associated with it to watch out for. These factors vary for the central and obstructive types. Sufferers of the obstructive type are more likely to be overweight, male, and over the age of 65, be black, Hispanic, or a Pacific Islander, smoke, or be related to someone else who has this condition. The central type, while also more likely to affect men and people over the age of 65, is more often associated with serious conditions such as spinal or brainstem injuries, heart or neurological diseases, or stroke.
As with any diagnosis, you should research all treatment options and find something that’s right and healthy for you. And remember, while this diagnosis may be frightening, there are plenty of methods of treatment for sleep apnea that can help you can through it.